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Funding boost helps save historic Workington church

St John the Evangelist

[S]t John the Evangelist, Workington has received a £25,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund urgent repairs to the roof and the base of the tower.

The church is one of 70 churches and chapels in England, Wales and Scotland that are set to benefit from rescue funding of £522,241 from the National Churches Trust, the UK’s church support charity.

Huw Edward, Vice-President of the National Churches Trust said: “I’m delighted that St John the Evangelist, Workington is to be saved for the future with the help of a £25,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant. This will ensure that the church remains open and a key part of the heritage of Workington.”

The project

This work is the first urgent phase needed to repair one half of the roof and base of the tower of this architecturally and historically significant church.  The roof leaks in many places on the south side of the church which has caused significant damage to the church ceiling.  This work will make it watertight, sustain the current level of usage and make it safe for public use.

The church

The church dates from 1821 and was built using money from the million pound fund set up by the government to mark the victory at the Battle of Waterloo. The church was designed by King George III’s architect Thomas Hardwick and is based on Inigo Jones’ design for St Paul’s, Covent Garden, which Hardwick had previously restored.

The church is an important landmark in the town of Workington featuring Hardwick’s trademark classical style Greek portico facing onto one of the main roads into the town. The tower was added in 1846 replacing a wooden structure destroyed by a gale.

The present interior was designed in 1931 by Sir John Ninian Comper, the renowned Scottish, Anglo-Catholic, ecclesiastical architect.

A spokesman for the church said: “The members of St John the Evangelist’s Church, Workington are very grateful to the National Churches Trust for making this generous award to our restoration project. It will allow us to fund fully the re-roofing of the south side of the church roof, and to complete works inside the tower to make it waterproof. Scaffolding work began at the end of July and the slaters will be working on the roof throughout the summer. This programme will stop the deterioration of the church which was the result of water ingress and allow us time to plan and carry out the next phase of our restoration project.”

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